Derek Weathers of St. George in Dorchester County has been out of school for a while, but the 30-year-old deer hunter still does plenty of homework.

When not working in shipping at the Mead Westvaco plant in Charleston, Weathers is doing homework on his personal trophy deer removal project in his home county.

He already has one buck in the state record book and the homework he's been doing this year paid dividends on Sept. 10, 2012. That's when a massive 9-point, 19-inch, 195-pound buck that figure to be in the 130-inch class eased into a beanfield about 30 minutes before dark.

"As soon as I saw the deer, I knew I was going to take the shot," Weathers said. "I had seen pictures of him on my trial cameras for a long time and had studied him closely. I hunt big deer and had already determined this was a shooter. There was no hesitation when he stepped out right about where I thought he would, about 100 yards from my stand."

 

Weathers took the buck using his favorite rifle, a 6mm Remington 700 loaded with a 100-grain Remington bullet.

 

"This is all the firepower I need; this rifle is flat-shooting and great for hunting agriculture fields," Weather said. "My homework is simply doing a lot of scouting and using a number of trail cameras on the property I hunt. I get to know and study the deer I have on the property and can often select the ones I want to shoot in advance and have a good idea where they will be and when they will be there. I study deer year-round and have information on most of the deer where I hunt.

 

"In the days immediately prior to shooting this buck, I started seeing pictures of this deer right at dark on a trial camera adjacent to the beanfield," he said. "I knew he was entering the field in a different place, so I figured he was feeding for about 30 minutes before dark, based on the time it took him to feed his way into trail-camera range.

"There were eight deer already in the field that evening, one a nice 8-point buck with a similar spread but only 2 ½ years old that I'm studying for the future. But the big buck came out where I thought he would, and having done my pre-hunt preparation, I knew instantly about what he would score and weigh, so I didn't hesitate. I knew he was the deer I was hunting."

The other part of the homework puzzle for Weathers is knowing in advance what wind he needs when to hunt a particular stand. Weathers said he needed a northeast wind to sit the stand when he took this buck. The stand is located in a narrow hardwood funnel between two beanfields.

"From this stand, I can see both fields but I had to wait for a front to push through to get a favorable wind change," he said. "When that happened, I could hunt that buck with the wind in my favor. Plus the temperature being 15 degrees cooler was a bonus."

Sometimes a plan comes together, and Weathers said doing his homework and sticking to what he had learned were keys to dropping this big buck.